The Sunday News
Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A SUSPECTED poacher was killed while his accomplice escaped following a shootout with game rangers on Wednesday at Bubye Valley Conservancy, some 60km west of Beitbridge town.
The two men allegedly killed a male lion, before rangers caught up with them while in the process of killing a black rhinoceros.
National police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said investigations into the matter were underway.
He said the body of the deceased whose identity is yet to be established was taken to Beitbridge District Hospital Mortuary.
Asst Comm Nyathi said they were still pursuing the second suspect.
“Preliminary investigations are that the now deceased and his accomplice went to Bubye Valley Conservancy armed with a rifle to illegally hunt.
The two then came across a young male lion which they shot and killed prompting the game rangers who were on patrol in the area to respond after hearing the gunshots,” he said.
“The rangers then tracked the spoor and caught up with the suspected poachers whom they found in the process of killing a black rhinoceros and ordered the two men to surrender. However, the duo opened fire resulting in a shoot-out with the game rangers and one of the poachers was shot and killed”.
Asst Comm Nyathi warned people against poaching saying the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
He also urged communities to jealously guard natural resources around their areas and report any untoward activities to the police.
Of late there has been an increase in cases of rhino poaching in the country.
It is estimated that there are less than 1000 rhinos in the country.
According to data from the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), more than 750 rhinos have been killed by poachers in Zimbabwe since 2000.
Poaching is rife in conservancies in Beitbridge District.
In 2018, two notorious poachers, Celestino Shate (35) of Bulawayo and Faso Moyo (42) of Victoria Falls were jailed for an effective 10 years each after they were caught hunting for rhinoceroses in Bubye Valley Conservancy.